Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/22/12
  Are the Ravens the league's most underrated team? It sure seems that way. After a rash of injuries knocked out a pair of starters on the defensive side of the ball, Baltimore was left for dead.  So while everyone turned away, Flacco and the still stout defensive unit have put together a quietly elite performance through ten games. Sure missing Ray Lewis in the middle hurts, but he may be better served as a quasi-coach and motivational coordinator on the sidelines. Losing Webb on the corner and having Ngata banged up in the middle of the defensive line probably hurts the defensive unit as a whole more.  Baltimore hasn't exactly been getting it done in convincing fashion this year, with six of their eight wins coming by seven points or less. But they find ways to pull it out, and against a Chargers team that is struggling to remain relevant, they should be able to pull another one off despite having to travel across the country.  It was not long ago that at least one expert would pick the Chargers to finally break out and win it all. LT and Turner and Sproles are gone though. As is Vincent Jackson and few weapons have been brought in that have had any much success. Rivers is a master of garbage time in a way that can skew his numbers, but his play has regressed to a point that the Chargers would not be crazy to start grooming his replacement in the near future.  Ryan Mathews was supposed to be that every down back that could carry the load for San Diego. But between countless injuries and the inability to hit a hole, he has disappointed thus far in his career after the Chargers took him in the first round. After signing Meachem and Eddie Royal, Danario Alexander has somehow emerged as the only thing resembling a big play threat.  The Chargers have given up thirty plus points in two straight and four of the past six games. Their endless attempt to fall flat with their draft picks has never been more evident. Larry English, Mathews, Corey Liuget and Melvin Ingram have been their first round picks in consecutive years, with none of them being able to step in and make an impact needed to be competitive in the AFC. This ineptitude goes to the top, and the calls for Norv and AJ Smith will once again rise up after the season wraps up.  But enough about the Chargers embarrassing management. Do they have a chance to take care of the Ravens? There is little reason to believe that they will. Ray Rice has been struggling as of late, but he seems primed for a breakout performance on the West Coast. He has been getting the touches, it has just been a matter of breaking big plays. The Ravens rushed for 100+ yards in each of the first five games, but just once since then. Look for that trend to turn in their favour down the stretch as they get back to basics and play Ravens football.  While the Ravens have a solid record, they have not been a betters dream this year. They have failed to cover consistently in pulling out their close games. But this game has such a tight line that all the Ravens need to do is win outright and the cover is theirs.  Eric Weddle has been his usual ball hawking self for the Chargers secondary this season, but aside from him the secondary has struggled. Their run prevent has already shone through either. Five teams have gone over the century mark against them this year, including the Chiefs on two occasions.   Pick of the Week record: 4-7. It has not been pretty lately. It is time to look elsewhere for your pick of the week? Never!  Last week the writing was on the wall for Brady to show Luck who the master was. But if it weren't for a pair of defensive scores and a fumble, the Colts were in the game. On to the next one.   
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Larry Lucchino stepping down as Red Sox CEO

Las Vegas Mob Museum to open FIFA corruption exhibit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dead at 61

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

Blount won't talk about reported failed conditioning test

Greg Hardy helps pay Cowboys fans to fly anti-Eagles banner

Report: 7-foot Aussie center to join Kentucky's 2015 class

Eagles trade CB Brandon Boykin to Steelers

Jack Del Rio: Crabtree ‘stood out’ at first Raiders camp practice

Browns owner: ‘We haven’t given up on Johnny Manziel’

Junior Seau’s daughter will speak at Hall of Fame induction

Golden State Warriors: the rich get richer

NFL, Brady could settle to avoid appeal documents going public

Miguel Herrera apologizes for costly Philly airport fight

Russell Wilson contract $60 million guaranteed? Not so fast

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker